Improvements in progress as Binford House gears up for sesquicentennial

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY Binford House board members Abby Donovan, left, and Cynthia Hubbard, right, pose for a photo at the bottom of the new and improved staircase on Wednesday. The house is included on the National Registry of Historic Places, and its 150th anniversary will be celebrated in 2024.

The Thaddeus Binford House at 110 N. 2nd Ave. has maintained its 19th century charm since it was first built in 1874, but with that age, some tender love and care has become necessary.

Luckily, a dedicated board is in charge of ensuring that the home, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, continues to thrive and offer a glimpse into Marshalltown’s rich past for those interested in learning more about it. Two board members, Abby Donovan and Cynthia Hubbard, were on hand Wednesday to show off some recent upgrades to the staircase near the entry and discuss plans for the upcoming sesquicentennial.

“My goal is to learn how to spell sesquicentennial without the aid of a spellchecker sometime in the next year,” Hubbard joked.

As Donovan and Hubbard explained, the current handrail isn’t up to code because it was too short, and they found out about the issue from an insurance company. Thankfully, they were able to track down two carpenters, Mark Ross and Roger Ballard, who specialize in the kind of historic preservation work they needed done. Ross even came all the way back from Colorado, where he now resides.

Over a couple of days, they put in spindle extensions that raised the height of the handrail by several inches, which Hubbard described as “stilts,” and they’ll be re-stained again soon to help them blend in better. Before these upgrades were completed, the board was advised by their insurer to keep people off of the second floor, but they are excited to open it back up and offer even more space to explore.

“Once we get the second floor redone, it will allow us to expand events,” Donovan said. “We may be able to small weddings and have a small meeting room upstairs as well as the people down here so we can actually do two things at the same time if we had to. It just allows us to do so much more.”

And of course, it’s all building up to an important milestone.

“We’re hoping to have several events in 2024 to celebrate,” Hubbard said. “We’re looking to get a lot more of the history front and center so we can make that better known.”

The Binford House is available for tours and private events with an in-house catering service.


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or rmaharry@timesrepublican.com.


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